While the live TV audience for the Oscars hit an eight-year low on Sunday, down 6% from last year and not far off from 2008’s nadir, a number of big brands still managed to score with clever ads and product integration in the show itself. That’s judging by some noteworthy social media spikes for a handful of savvy brands, as measured by analytics outfit ListenFirst Media, which powers MediaPost’s Digital Engagement Index.
Oscar retail sponsor Kohls, which debuted a series of entertaining ads matching bombastic and frequently incoherent Oscar acceptance speeches with people in everyday situations, saw total Twitter engagements jump over 600%, according to ListenFirst. Meanwhile Diet Coke enjoyed a 684% spike in conversation across all social channels, thanks to the airing of its ad “It’s Mine: The Catch.”
The red carpet pre-show yielded big social media wins for other brands. Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful activation for the red carpet generated a 1,147% increase in cross-channel conversation, while Dolce and Gabbana saw Instagram activity jump 1,511% thanks to photos of attendees wearing the designer on the red carpet.
Of course the show itself had plenty of moments more or less designed to drive social media buzz. It began with Chris Rock’s opening monologue, in which the comedian addressed the issue of race and diversity – or the lack thereof – in Hollywood, as was pretty much inevitable following months of discussion about the lily-white nominations for this year’s awards.
Other big social media moments included Leo (you know, Leo DiCaprio?) finally winning his first best actor Oscar for “The Revenant.” And as always there was a good amount of carping, including lots of gayer-than-thou social media critics who took issue with Sam Smith for claiming to be the first openly LGBTQ artist to win an Oscar with his award for the theme song for “Spectre, the latest James Bond movie. Dustin Lance Black took to Twitter to point out that he won the Oscar for the screenplay for “Milk” back in 2009. Elton John and Howard Ashman also both won Oscars as openly gay men.